Outdoor enthusiasts are anticipating bicycling, running and surprise challenges around every bend as they gear up for the fifth annual Red Dirt Adventure Challenge duathlon.
The Red Dirt Adventure Challenge, organized by the ACU Outdoor Club, will begin at 10 a.m on Saturday at Lake Abilene in the Abilene State Park. Check-in will begin at 9 a.m.
The event is Abilene’s only beginner-level adventure race, offering a variety of challenges for anyone interested in the outdoors. This year, racers will run on a mix of dirt and gravel roads, and bike on single-track and backcountry-style trails.
Asa Kusuma, the Red Dirt master, said the club has made some changes to this year’s event.
“It’s an adventure duathlon. The events have definitely been revamped,” Kusuma, junior computer science major from Annandale, Va., said. “The hardcore course is a lot more exciting this year, and the challenges for all the categories will be more physically challenging.”
There will also be sections of the course in which competitors will participate in adventure challenges.
“The events are a surprise, but I can tell you that depending on the race category, racers will be crawling under, jumping over, and climbing up obstacles,” Kusuma said.
Other changes this year include giving social clubs the opportunity to earn intramural points by participating.
Participants can register for one of three categories: Just for Fun, Family, and Hardcore. The Just for Fun and Family categories are for beginners and involve a 7.3-mile bike ride and a 1.5-mile run. The Hardcore category is considered the toughest and is recommended for intermediate and competitive racers. It consists of 8.25-mile bike ride and a 3.1-mile run.
Bridget Howe, junior family studies major from Grapevine, is the Outdoor Club communication officer.
“It’s going to be fun, with free food, a live band, and prizes,” Howe said.
Howe encouraged everyone to come out to the event.
“Even if you don’t want to compete, we still need volunteers. Basically, you’re going to really want to be there,” Howe said.
Anyone interested in participating in the Red Dirt Adventure Challenge can register on the club’s website, www.acuoutdoorclub.org. Individual sign-up cost is $20, and family teams are $40. The deadline for registration is Thursday. There is also a need for volunteers on the day of the challenge. To get involved, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“It’s not an exclusive group, nor do you have to be hardcore outdoorsy,” Howe said. “If you’re thinking about participating in the Red Dirt Challenge, don’t just think about it, do it!”